Lots of tropospheric activity tonight. Getting bounces from everywhere. Since 11pm I have picked up 51+ stations, the furthest from Rochester at 308km. ION (56.1/15) is from Syracuse. Looking forward to getting tuners on all 4 antennas. I even briefly received (between scans) a test id from 35.2/28.2 MeTV, a station I hope to receive more regularly. The results in the image below are from my hourly reception scans.
EDIT: In the end it was 54 stations with the furthest being WTEN Albany at 331 km.
Realized my original design was really over the top and unnecessary. Really you can pick up CTV-13 with a coat hanger so I ditched my VHF antenna. In addition I omitted the unnecessary second rotor. I also shortened the top mast and put my strongest pipe in place of the previous long lightweight one. On the top mast I put two good antennas, the CYD-1430 at 46 ft, and the Winegard HD8800 at 43 ft. I then face mounted my regular day in day out use antenna (the DB8e) on the tower at about 37ft. One bay is aimed at Watertown, one bay at Plattsburg. This is about a 60 degree beam width. That antenna should not work as well as it does. Finally for fun, I put a four bay clone at 39ft. aimed between Montreal and Plattsburgh. Before raising, I tested all antennas and preamps. Interestingly even while lying on the ground it received most local stations.
Face mounting the DB8e on the DMX is very very easy and looks way cool. Note the DMX is a 40' tower on a one foot hinge addition and a 7ft mast (5'8"above tower peak). First night I am getting ABC and all the Watertown stations but it looks like a unusually good reception night. I will have to wait for some long term results. In the pictures you can see my old chimney mast still up.
46ft - CYD-1430 on a RCA TVPRAMP1R preamp pointed towards Watertown (on rotor)
43ft - Winegard HD8800 on a Kitztech KT-200 preamp pointed towards Watertown (on rotor)
39ft - 4 Bay Clone on a CPA-19 preamp pointed towards Mount Mansfield Vermont
37ft - DB8e on a Channel Master 7777 (dual input one) pointed towards Watertown and Plattsburg.
Configured the tower. Started winching it up and hit some leaves. Trimed the leaves and winched it up and hit some more. After triming again this time with my 36 foot ladder, I started it up again. Got up about 60 degrees hit some branches that were not going away. Was very late, so I lowered it down, and realized I needed some design changes!
I started the running the cable needed for my tower project. It is a bit OTT but I am running 8 cables up my tower. 4 coax, 2 ethernet and 2 rotor cables (one a cat5). I used a 1" conduit. Note to self, use a 1.5" conduit next time. All RG6 quad coax and only cat5 for the ethernet.
I put a cross side support in for a second rotor. For now it will hold a small VHF - basically only for channel 13. Used 2 u-bolt clamps to hold the side arm. The side arm was leftover metal from my last home made antenna project. I drilled holes every foot if I ever wanted to move the rotor over for a bigger yagi style antenna. I also manually set both rotors to the true north position.
I replaced the standard TMCA with a thrust bearing mount (BBMB). This will help the main rotor which will have an 8 bay (HD8800) and 2 small-ish UHF arrow style antennas. I used a lighter and taller mast than I normally would because of the three antennas. The thrust ball bearing will help longentivity.
I may face mount my DB8e, on the tower, near the rotor, for my day-in day-out reception.
Today I tested out my winch setup. First trip down was bumpy due to the uneven layering of the cable in the new winch, but it went well. When I got near the bottom I realized I needed to cut out a little in front of the legs (see picture). So I wound it back up, cut out the wood ties and wound it down again. I am very happy with it. It is smooth and seems secure. Just takes more winding than I expected. V2 may be electric!
I added another 8 ft section to get it to 32ft. Next I will add the top 8ft section, take my time to set up the mast, antennas and preamps; and then wind her up,
Originally I was going to do some fancy attic attachment system and then instead decided to simply attach to the strongest point on the wall. I attached the bolt through the top plate of the first floor of the house. First I removed some drywall in my living room and drilled a 3/4" hole through the wall. Hit some nails and had issues with 3/4" bits but ultimately I got the hole drilled in 33 degree weather. Good thing I didn't do the attic solution! Had to buy a 1/2" breaker bar but boy is that bolt on tight! Seemed to work out well. I attached the winch to the post behind the tower at a nice level for turning. I then attached the winch wire on the tower at a level slightly higher than the pivot point. Yes I have lots of ladders. In the pictures, what looks like rust is actually dirt and leaf bits. I temporarily patched up the living room wall. The room needed a paint job anyway. Tomorrow I may test the winching system.
Usually with a DMX self supporting tower, you need plenty of concrete. Usually a block of at least 3' x 3' x 3' is required. However in my case I am mounting my "hybrid" tower both bracketed to my house and spiked with a base hinge (described in previous post). I decided to lock in my spikes from any shifting or torsional forces with a base cap, a slab 3' x 3' x 4". This required 6 bags of 30kg cement. After the obligatory kids hand prints and a couple of hours of sweat, considered it "locked" in. Notice the plumb bob still smack in the middle. It is strung down the middle of the 3 upright sections. The wooden post at the back is for mounting the winch, my next part of the project.
In my cleaning up/sorting of my misc. electronic kit, I stumbled upon an old rotor. I believe it is a channel master rotor (or a Radio Shack copy). Of course I had to see if it worked - and it did! As I really don't sell used equipment, I am thinking of putting 2 rotors on my tower project.
In my tower design I realized I would need at least 100ft of rotor wire. I did have lots of CAT5 that I didn't need (I have over 1000' of CAT6 I need to use first). Rotor wire is typically 22 gauge. Good rotor wire is 20 gauge, CAT 5 is 24 gauge. Rotor wire is typically 3 wire (Channel Master) or 4 wire. Easy solution is to pair up wires in a CAT5 for a 4 wire cable. Pictures show a typical wire hookup, the video below shows the rotor opening at normal speeds. The rotor bolts are currently in a container of vinegar "derusting". Don't forget to cut off the unused pair to avoid shorting.
Yup I now have ethernet on my roof. Why? Well for many years I have tried various antenna preamps, in search of the holy grail - a true low loss preamp. I had three on my test antenna mast. On my everyday antenna I use a channel master UHF/VHF 7777. Otherwise I have been using a CPA-18 and/or a Kitztech KT200. The Kitztech has saturation and/or FM issues. The CPA19 functioned Ok and the channel master was consistant but had the highest loss of the bunch at 3db.
Two of my preamps are fed through HDhomerun dual tuners for use with a Mac Mini used as a HTPC. The preamp is mainly to make up for cable runs, so I decided to mount a HDHomerun as close as possible to an antenna without a preamp.
The HDhomerun requires 5 volts so I used cheap passive injector/splitter POE adaptors with my cables. The roll of cheap CAT5 cable I had in my old stockpile could only power the HDhomerun for up to 60ft (I tested it in my house first at 100 and then 75ft). A better CAT6 cable may go another 10 or 20 ft. In my case 60ft was enough to get to my basement where I put another hub. So now I have ethernet on my roof!!
The antenna used for this test is the CYD-1430 pointed directly at Watertown. It can be seen in the above picture at the bottom below the DB8e and the VHF antenna. Testing has only begun but so far nothing spectacular with only local stations being pulled in. The reception results as viewed by my hourly test scripts can be seen here.
My initial thoughts are that the concept works well but the weak point may be the sensitivity of the HDhomerun. On my other antenna on the same mast, the DB8e, my Vizio TV receives CBS/FOX (28.1/28.2) all the time, yet the HDhomerun on the DB8e only intermittently. Both are on the same coax, just on opposite ends of a 2-way splitter. More investigation/testing is definitely required.